Appraisal Vs. Inspection

If you haven’t already delved into the world of real estate, chances are that at some point in your life, you will. Real estate is often the most important investment people ever make, yet often they are astoundingly un-educated about the process and the terminology. As a perpetual student, I thought it would be fun to create a weekly journey to teach the average person about this complex and varied world.

We will launch this journey by comparing “Appraisal” vs. “Inspection”. They sound like synonyms, but they are actually two very different things and serve very different purposes.


An appraisal entails a licensed appraiser doing a fairly quick walk-through of the home. They are appraising the basics of the home to determine its fair market value. This is done to provide the lender with the fair market value in order to determine if the will loan money for the purchase of said home. The appraiser is not looking for anything that is not blatantly obvious, but rather confirming things like number of bedrooms and general condition of the home. The rest of the appraisal process begins once the appraiser leaves. They will use complicated charts and equations to compare the home with other comparable properties that have sold and determine what its value actually is.


On the flip side, an inspection is a much more in-depth assessment of the home. The inspector is there to protect the buyer. They are looking to find any potential problems that the buyer will have to fix. The inspector will examine every accessible part of the home and this inspection will likely take much longer than the appraisers. While it is highly encouraged that anyone buying a home have an inspection done, it should be noted that there are limitations to this process. The inspector can’t predict the future, nor can they see through walls, so issues sometimes go undetected.


While appraisers and inspectors do serve very different roles, they do have a few things in common. Both are professionals that you can expect to do their jobs impartially. You should feel comfortable with the knowledge that you will get an unbiased property valuation from your appraiser and a neutral home inspection report from you inspector, because neither professional is paid a commission on the sale of the home and neither has anything to gain or lose if the home is sold or not. Remember to ask your real estate agent for recommendations, because as in any field, there are some more reputable and respectable professionals that they may be able to direct you towards!